Content Jam Recap: Wil Reynolds on Inviting Big Data to the Content Party

Content Jam Recap: Wil Reynolds on Inviting Big Data to the Content Party

Wil Reynolds has a lofty goal for content marketers: Make a singular piece of content that shows your value and worth.

At the closing keynote of Content Jam, Wil, VP of Innovation at Seer Interactive, discussed what becomes possible “When Big Data Gets Invited to the Content Party.”

He began by telling the story of a content marketer who created incredible content. But the CEO told this content marketer that his content wasn’t working; that he needed to do something else.


Because the content marketer didn’t have good data — so the CEO couldn’t see the results.

That’s what Wil talked about at Content Jam: How to help content marketers show the value of their content — and how to pinpoint and create that one piece of content that’s worth the most to your company.

“Getting one year of good data is better than my 20 years of experience.”

Here’s what he shared.

PPC data and SEO data: Better together

Before Wil knew how to find that one piece of content, he had a data problem of his own. “My AdWords data stayed in AdWords. We optimized it, and it was great — in AdWords. And all my ranking and SEO data stayed in other tools.”

The problem, Wil explains, is that consumers don’t pay attention to the difference between PPC and SEO. They search Google, they look for answers, and then they click. “They click so much that they click on paid ads when it’s not even close to their answer — and it’s costing you a lot of money” — because you pay per click.

PPC data and SEO data are awesome apart, but they’re even better together.

Marketers vs. keyword gremlins

Wil had a client bidding on PPC ads for the search phrase “deck plan.” AdWords and CPA both looked really good, but those metrics didn’t tell Wil about the “keyword gremlins.”

vvkq38pcb keywordgremlinsDon’t feed the keyword gremlins after midnight. Or ever.

If Wil had looked at organic search, he would have seen that the SERP for “deck plan” also includes the plan of a cruise ship’s deck. The problem was that people looking for cruise ship information were still clicking on Wil’s Google AdWords results — even though the ad said: “Do you want to build a deck?”

The result? Tens of thousands of dollars wasted on unqualified clicks.

People searched phrases like “deck plan MSC” — and Wil’s ads showed up until he negated every cruise line and ship name.

“Every client deserves to not have these keyword gremlins in their account. But how am I supposed to find them all?”

Don’t target things with PPC that you already rank for organically — it’s a waste of money. (But when your data exists in two different silos, you’re never going to know that’s happening.)

“If content marketers know how to find those things, what do you get? Money to pay for real content that solves real problems for real customers.”

Stop wasting money: Combine PPC and SEO data to create your most valuable content

Another key phrase example: “Savings account for wedding.” Ally Bank used to have a PPC ad for this phrase — and a piece of content organically ranking third.

The PPC landing page had 0 mentions of the word wedding. The organic page has 15 mentions of the word wedding. Ally Bank was wasting money on their PPC ad; their organic page performed far better (with no ad spend).

“Are you going after a phrase with PPC when you already have a page ranking organically for that phrase? Where is that landing page underperforming for you when you’ve already earned the ranking on the organic side?”

To find these overlaps, Wil recommends that you take your PPC data, your SEO data, and your Analytics data and mash them up — then you can find these opportunities at scale.

har4gbhnr wilslidesA slide from Wil’s 2019 Content Jam presentation: The data you can access when you combine all 3 sources.

Your PPC ads need to fit the intent of the customer. Otherwise, you’re wasting money.

You can look at clues on a SERP to help you plan organic content that will provide more value than PPC. Clues like…

  • Publish date
  • Domain
  • Ranking
  • People also ask

Each of these factors gives you more information about searcher intent — and how much your content might be worth if you target the same phrase. If the date on the number one ranking post is from three years ago, you know that a high-quality, optimized post on this topic will provide years of content ROI.

“Facts. Not my opinion, not my experience, not my 20 years of blah blah blah. Facts.”

There are clues everywhere. But who has time to Google every possible search term and analyze every SERP? How do you scale this process?

You need the right tools.

“Data’s only the new oil if you’ve got the right tools to drill.”

Having all of this valuable SEO and PPC data in one place lets Wil tell clients things like, “I’m going to target keywords that have zero search volume.”

He goes after the long-tail searches because it makes it easier to create content that ranks — because there’s less competition. While other content marketers duke it out for keywords with thousands of searches a month, Wil focuses on the keywords with fewer searches and more opportunities. 

To find these opportunities at scale, Wil uses Power BI, a free data vis tool from Microsoft.

Here’s a snapshot of his process:

  1. Take the top 20 ranking URLs for every search term that you (or your client) paid for in the last year
  2. Look at all of the pieces of content ranking on all terms
  3. Cut out the irrelevant phrases, which cost money (but don’t convert!)
  4. Count how many unique URLs there are for each domain
  5. Look at the number of conversions
  6. Focus on the people who create little content but have a lot of conversions. What phrases do they focus on? That’s the opportunity.

Sound confusing? Don’t worry. If you missed Wil’s presentation at Content Jam — or just want a refresher — Seer Interactive’s YouTube channel has a ton of step-by-step videos on this exact process.

Here’s how Wil uses Power BI to complete an SEO competitive analysis and identify PPC waste:

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